Monday, March 7, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans Under Massive Public Pressure

Rumors have been at nearly a fever pitch for the last week. So it's been difficult to know what to believe lately. One thing is for sure, the Republicans are really starting to feel the mounting pressure. Last week, I highlighted some of the early tactics the Republicans were resorting to, and then Friday they bi-passed constitutional law to issue an order for the arrest of the Wisconsin 14. The pressure only continues to increase, and it's starting to show on the Republicans.

I just watched Rep. Cory Mason (D) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. The biggest take-away from the debate was how much differently the two behaved. Mason was calm, respectful, and answered the questions asked of him. Fitzgerald, who called in, sounded agitated and was very lippy to Mason, O'Donnell, and anyone else he could direct his anger at. On top of that, but somewhat usual, Fitzgerald neglected to directly answer most of the questions asked of him. Neither Walker or Fitzgerald looked much better in their earlier press conference where they reiterated their desire to not compromise. These are the most telling signs that the pressure is starting to wear on the Republicans.

Who can blame them? The polls continue to show a consistent, if not increasing, strong opposition to the plans of Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans. Even conservative-leaning polls can't get the numbers to spin their way. For example, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute couldn't get more than fifty percent to side with Walker on collective bargaining if told the local governments need it. Fifty-eight percent of respondents in that poll are opposed to Walker's plan without that qualification.

Lawsuits against the Walker administration are starting to pile up. Last week Monday, the Wisconsin State Employees Union sued Walker for unfair labor practices. The complaint is that Walker refused to negotiate with the union, in violation of state law.

The Associated Press and the local Madison newspaper the Isthmus sued Walker on Friday for not revealing details about emails. Walker has said that he's received more than 8,000 emails in support of his plan, but he's resisted providing any further information. The lawsuit states Walker is in violation of the Wisconsin Open Records law and asks Walker to be ordered to release the emails.

Today, the Wisconsin Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office. This is similar to another complaint filed two weeks ago. We all remember the prank phone call between Walker and a faux David Koch. The two main issues in this complaint relate to that call. The first issue is a possible campaign finance law violation when Walker asked Koch for help in shoring up support. The second issue has to do with Walker admitting that he would layoff workers as a political tactic. This would be unfair labor practice.

I also wanted to highlight a very interesting comment from Sen. Fitzgerald on The Last Word. Fitzgerald admitted that the Obama stimulus saved Wisconsin, and he said that we're in trouble because there is no more stimulus.

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